Feature Articles

Sharing Kyoto's monthly special reports about the seasons, traditions, and popular spots of Kyoto.

37Articles
Feature

Eat hot food to get through the cold winter of Kyoto!

When the cold winter winds howl in Kyoto, and the temperatures drop below 10 degrees, it truly starts to feel freezing. But worry not! With a hot pot dish and some hot noodles, you’re going to be able to get through the winter in Kyoto. There are udon and soba noodles, yudofu, hot pot, and hot drinks for you to enjoy here, so there is something for everyone, so come join me on my trip to find out about the most heart and body warming dishes in Kyoto!
Season Dec. 10, 2018
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Eat, drink, and play in Kyoto – in Nanzen-ji and Okazaki!

The area of Nanzen-ji is a place you definitely have to visit if you’re coming to Kyoto in spring or autumn! If you walk for a bit you will get to the sightseeing area around Heian Shrine, Okazaki, which has a splendid cultural feel to it, and these two areas, Nanzen-ji and Okazaki, are easy to fit into a full day itinerary. In this time’s feature article, we take a look at the restaurants, sightseeing spots, and shops that await you in Nanzen-ji and Okazaki! I’m sure you will have fun during your trip to Kyoto if you read this feature article!
Area Dec. 05, 2018
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Traditional handicrafts from Kyoto

Kimono, Kyo-yaki, Kyo-zogan, and many other words for different types of handicrafts are something you quite often hear in Kyoto, a place famed for its temples, which in turn then became patrons of art, which then lead to the birth of the “dento koge,” traditional handicrafts of Kyoto.
Culture Dec. 02, 2018
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Most beautiful autumn leaf viewing spots in Kyoto

The temples of Kyoto get crowded in autumn, but if you take the train to go see them, at least you won’t have to worry about the overcrowded buses!
Season Nov. 26, 2018
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The tea culture of Kyoto

The tea culture of Kyoto is very old, and you can even find the oldest tea field in Kyoto in the area of Takao, at the World Heritage Site of Kosan-ji Temple. Tea ceremony and matcha are maybe the most important part of tea in Kyoto, but there are also many other types of delicious teas in Koyto, some with a lot of umami, some with a more grassy taste, and some that have a nice smokiness to them. Read below if you want to know more about the types of teas you can find in Kyoto, like gyokuro, kabusecha, sencha, hojicha, and many more.
Culture Oct. 15, 2018
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Kawadoko in Kyoto: an outstanding summer dining experience

Summer in Kyoto means kawayuka – riverside dining. Kawayuka is also called “nature’s air conditioner.” In summer Kyoto gets humid and very hot; so many people escape this weather to the kawayuka dining platforms. When you talk of kawayuka in Kyoto, the one by the Kamo River, often shortened yuka, is probably the most famous. There are different styles of kawayuka in Kyoto, and they’re enjoyed in different ways. One of the most exciting things about the kawayuka by the Kamo River is the way you can enjoy different types of food, from Japanese washoku to such international cuisines as French and Italian. In Kibune you get to enjoy your food on top of a river, and in Takao, you get to enjoy the cool air and be surrounded by nature. So, this time we are going to introduce to you three different areas and three different types of kawayuka, by the Kamo River, in Kibune, and in Takao.
Culture Sep. 30, 2018
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Renovated machiya-style townhouse fun in Kyoto! Eat, drink, and have fun in machiya!

When you walk on the historic streets of Kyoto, you will undoubtedly notice all the old houses lining the streets. These houses are actually called “Kyoto machiya townhouses.” Do you know what this word means? It’s the townhouses that the people of Kyoto used to live in, but, sadly, with the advent of modernity, the number of houses like this has gone down dramatically. Luckily, there is now a movement to restore these Kyoto machiya townhouses to their former glory. So now you can find all kinds of restaurants and shops located in machiya, so keep reading if you want to know what kinds of machiya townhouse restaurants, shops, and experiences you can find in Kyoto!
Culture Jul. 29, 2018
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Cleanse your mind and body at the Japanese gardens of Kyoto!

Kyoto’s temples are always a popular sightseeing destination for tourists. Getting to admire beautiful gardens at these temples is an experience that is bound to leave a lasting memory! But how are these gardens categorized? What are the differences between garden types? I think that this is a question most people can’t answer without looking at Wikipedia! In this feature article, we will take a look at the defining characters of different types of Japanese gardens, and also take the Randen tram to see some gardens. And lastly, we will go find some great restaurants with nice gardens! I hope you will enjoy the profound world of Japanese gardens!
Culture Sep. 10, 2018
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Kyoto's delicious sandwiches & burgers

The words "sandwiches" and "burgers" should be familiar to everyone! However, have you ever tried eating sandwiches and burgers in a place as atmospherically time-honored as Kyoto? You may feel a slight sense of inconsistency. Sandwiches and burgers that originated in Europe have been introduced to Japan and undergone a baptism by the local culture. As a result, they have developed and transformed into a variety of different styles. European-style sandwiches tend to use hard bread, while Japanese-style sandwiches tend to use soft white bread. Of course, the fillings are also Japanese in style and have their own unique delicious taste. In this special report, let us uncover the mysteries of Kyoto's sandwiches & burgers and explore this delicious culinary world!
Culture Aug. 27, 2018
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Kyoto, a pink wonderland of cherry blossoms, is full of places you have to have on your bucket list

It’s almost time for cherry blossoms again! The cherry blossom season is the time when Kyoto is at its busiest because everyone wants to see the beautiful cherry blossoms of this ancient city. No matter whether you’re coming alone, with friends, with your family, or if you’re in retirement, this article will offer something for you and your cherry blossom itinerary! I have chosen some great cherry blossom spots and restaurants for you to enjoy in Kyoto, and although the cherry blossom season is very short, I’m sure that with these tips you can enjoy it to the fullest and make some great spring memories in Kyoto! So, come with me, Vanessa, and find out which are the best cherry blossom spots in Kyoto!
Season Jul. 04, 2018
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The shrines and temples of Kyoto and their traditional Japanese sweets!

There are many shrines and temples in Kyoto, many of them World Heritage Sites, so a huge number of tourists visit them every year. But did you know that some of these places of worship have their own Japanese sweet they’re famous for? In Japanese, these treats are called “Sweets sold in front of the temple gates,” which as you can probably guess, is where most of the places selling these sweets are located. These sweets are great to have when at the temple, or you can eat them later at your hotel. In this article, we take a look at what kinds of shrine-sweets you can have in Kyoto, and what they have to do with the shrine! So come with Vanessa and find out which are the best shrine-sweets in Kyoto!
Culture Jul. 20, 2018
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Winter in Kyoto is cold but actually great for sightseeing!

January and February are the coldest months in Kyoto, and you can even get to see snow here. But if you wear the right clothes, this period is great for sightseeing. If you want to know what to wear in January and February in Kyoto, and what to eat, look no further! We’re also going to say cheers with a glass of hot sake!
Season Dec. 05, 2018
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Romantic and happy winter in Kyoto!

After the autumn leaves season ends, and the calendar turns to December, it’s time in Kyoto to really start the winter preparations. In Kyoto, this means that the atmosphere turns a little bit more western from the traditional, and there are even Christmas light shows for you to see. But the most important thing has to be Christmas and the New Year’s celebrations. So come and join Vanessa on her journey to find out the most romantic restaurants and illumination events in Kyoto! It’s time to hold hands and go into the winter night of Kyoto!
Season Dec. 13, 2018
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Time to change to a kimono and go for a walk in Gion!

Among the sightseeing spots of Kyoto, one of the most popular ones is Gion. But do you know why Gion is known as the geisha district of Kyoto? And what is the difference between maiko and geisha, or geiko as they are called in Kyoto? We are going to find out, and on the way we are also going to rent a kimono, go to the shrines and temples of Gion, and finish with some fine dining establishments with Michelin stars. So, it is time to start our trip to the traditional hanamachi of Gion!
Area Aug. 04, 2018
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Exploring Kyoto in autumn!

Autumn is fast closing in on Kyoto, and soon the leaves of the maple trees will turn into vivid shades of red and yellow. In this article, you get to read about three wonderful itineraries for viewing autumn leaves in Kyoto, and in part four you even get to know about autumn leaves night illumination events that take place here in the old capital of Japan.
Season Nov. 21, 2018
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Perfect guide for autumn leaves in Kyoto

Autumn in Kyoto means autumn leaves. The historic temples of this ancient capital are surrounded by red and yellow leaves, and in this article you can find out which of the temples are the best during the autumn leaves season in Kyoto. I have for you four parts, each divided by how far the temples are and into classics and places off the beaten path.
Season Jan. 23, 2018
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Ultimate Arashiyama guide for beginners

Arashiyama is one of the most famous sightseeing areas in Kyoto. The mountains and the Bamboo Grove, the temples and shrines… there is a lot to see, and it may be hard to decide where to go to. Here you have a classic half-day itinerary for Arashiyama plus some places for those who are feeling more adventurous!
Area Aug. 13, 2018
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The perfect dessert for a hot summer’s day!

The best summer sweets in Kyoto have to be kakigori, also known as shaved ice, and parfaits. There is nothing better than a cold dessert on a hot summer's day.
Season Sep. 01, 2018
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The first day of summer in Kyoto

After the cherry blossom season, just when the hot summer is beginning, many people may think of this period as just a time when Kyoto is sleeping and waiting for the jubilant events of Gion Matsuri and Gozan no Okuribi. Kyoto is surrounded by mountains and because of this the summers are extremely hot and humid; so much so that you may be tempted to just stay in air-conditioned cafes and restaurants. But after the cherry blossoms, it is time for spring greenery in Kyoto, and there are many fun events and places where you can enjoy the green leaves! The grand play of nature you get to see at Kifune Shrine and Kurama Temple; the maple leaves almost shining in vivid shades of green; the cute hydrangea flowers you get to see during Japan’s rainy season, “tsuyu;” the beer gardens sure to be make you refreshed… In the four parts of this article, you can find out about the best ways to spend your summer in Kyoto. I hope this article can be of help to you when you come to Kyoto in summer!
Season Aug. 17, 2018
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Shopping in Teramachi and Shinkyogoku!

If you look up places to go shopping in Kyoto, you are going to run into Teramachi and Shinkyogoku shopping streets. These streets used to be famous only in Japan, especially among students, but right now they are also famous with visitors from overseas. This is a feature article that will guide you through both of these streets! Sharing Kyoto will tell you which of the old shops are in even to this day, and which of the new ones are worth a visit, and lastly, we even have a shopping report! Join us on our fun trip to Teramachi & Shinkyogoku!
Area Dec. 01, 2018
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A complete guide to Fushimi Inari Shrine

Maybe the most famous among the many sightseeing spots in Kyoto is Fushimi Inari Shrine. Many people head to the shrine to see the mysterious sight of the countless torii gates and the many foxes guarding the shrine. But Fushimi Inari Shrine is not only about torii gates and foxes, there is a lot more to the over 1000-year old shrine. By reading this feature article you will get a better sense of what Fushimi Inari Shrine really is about, like: What is Fushimi Inari Shrine’s history like? Why are there shrines all the way up the mountain? Why are there so many foxes at Fushimi Inari Shrine? And why are there so many torii gates? What are the most popular Fushimi Inari Shrine souvenirs? You will find the answers to these questions and more by clicking on the links below:
Area Nov. 25, 2018
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Soba and udon have always been loved by the people of Kyoto

Soba and udon noodles are Japanese comfort food. The history of soba and udon in Japan is actually really long, Japanese people have known soba and udon for around one thousand years. I don’t know but maybe it is because of this history that I sometimes just really want to eat soba or udon. I run into a restaurant to taste those fragrant noodles with the delicious dashi soup that goes down so well. I smell the fragrance of the bonito and kelp stock and slurp the noodly deliciousness. Mmm… yummy! I wonder why soba and udon make my heart flutter. In this feature article I am going to find out what makes Japanese people love soba and udon. Of course there are many famous and long-established restaurants in Kyoto. I am going to introduce many long-established restaurants that have been loved by many generations of Kyotoites, but I am also going to establish the latest and hippest in the world of soba and udon. In part two I am going to introduce to you the cool and fashionable way of using soba restaurants as pubs. Drinking at soba restaurants was called “sobayanomi” in Japan 300 years ago. Nowadays many young people don’t even know about “sobayanomi”. But drinking at soba restaurants is not like drinking at pubs, it is cooler. I am going to introduce you the best places to do “sobayanomi” and how to enjoy it to the fullest. Welcome to the profound world of soba and udon. After reading this feature article I am sure you will want to fly to Kyoto and enjoy the fragrance and taste of soba and udon. Let’s all get immersed into the world of soba and udon!
Culture May. 21, 2018
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Recommended places to visit during cherry blossom season

The cherry blossom season brings many sentimental feelings to people of Japan every year. With the start of a new school year for students in April in Japan, the cherry blossoms bring encouragement to all the people of the world. Cherry blossoms, also known as sakura in Japanese, are often used as the symbol of Japan. Now cherry blossoms can also be seen in places far across the globe like in Washington D.C. because the Japanese government gives cherry trees out as presents to foreign states in order to strengthen international relations. In Japan, there are about 300 different types of cherry trees. Among them, Somei Yoshino is a type most familiar among people of Japan. Interestingly, most cherry trees are planted and so most trees at the same place are related to each other sharing the same DNA. They tend to blossom at the same time, and the petals also fall off at the same time. The trees are beautiful in any place they bloom, of course. The whole country will be swept over with cherry blossom from March to May. Nonetheless, you do not want to miss the historical city of Kyoto during this wonderful season. We hope that you will spend the cherry blossom season the same way the people of Kyoto do. From wonderful walks by the canals lined with cherry blossoms to feeling the spring air swirling the petals off the trees, there are incredible things to experience in Kyoto. The spring time in Japan is extra special because of the attitude and sentimental feelings people have toward this short time frame when the trees blossom, usually for about 2 weeks.
Season Dec. 12, 2018
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The Sticky Rice Cakes the Japanese People Can’t Get Enough Of!

Have you had “mochi” (Japanese Rice cakes)? Since there are a lot of famous Japanese confectionery shops and teahouses in Kyoto, you may have already tried Warabi-mochi or dumplings. However, these are not exactly mochi. Then, what is mochi? It is food made from mochi rice, and looks white, and has a sticky texture. The white object is bland as it as, so they are often eaten with some seasonings or broth soup after grilling or boiling. It might be not familiar to you if you are from out of Japan, but for Japanese, traditional ingredient from an ancient time. We will feature “Kyoto’s mochi” in this article. Kyoto has many Japanese confectioners, not to mention temples and shrines, no wonder classic, recommended rice cake or events are found. This time, we are going to introduce mochi rice cake from 3 different points of view, “learn”, “eat”, and “make.” In Part1, you can see the representative mochi-food “zoni” and also Kyoto’s local zoni. Part2 shows you sweet mochi at Kyoto’s teahouses. Then Part3 comes, get to know mochi-related events take place in temples and shrines. Finally Part4! Sharing Kyoto members have actually practiced mochi-making! We are very happy if you find “mochi” attractive through our features.
Culture Nov. 30, 2018
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The Best Ways to Find Antiques in Kyoto

What are antiques to you? Are they something to be left in the attic, or do you still use them every day? There are many different ways of looking at antiques, but many people in Japan think of antiques as something you could use every day. In fact there are of course some rare antiques valued in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, and you may feel reluctant to enter the world of shops or people that deal with only those kinds of objects. However, originally in Japan, antiques are not purely decorative objects never to be touched. They are "things that are close at hand every day", to be treasured but also to be carefully and continually used on a daily basis. Of course, the cost is a stretch compared to the crockery and furniture that we can so easily buy. However, considering the cost performance, their color does not fade for 100 or 200 years; on the contrary, antiques that have a long history and are even more rich and tasteful than when they are new will be tens of times better. Food or sake served in antique dishes or cups is delicious. I think that it may be thanks to the hands of many people it has passed through. The hands of the people who carefully made each and every one, the hands of the former owners who carefully used it, and the hands of the people kept it until passing it on to the next owner, it is deeply embued with the memories of various people. Doesn’t something taste more delicious because the thought is subtly conveyed of someone treasuring a particular object? Antiques are truly fascinating. This time, we bring you how to enjoy such "antiques for everyday use". You might wonder "why antiques in Kyoto?", but actually it is “antiques because it’s Kyoto.” The reason is that Kyoto has an abundance of ways to enjoy antiques: two major antique fairs held every month; antique shops that you can enter casually; Teramachi-dori, which is a street famous for art; and Kyoto Grand Antique Fair, the largest antique fair in western Japan. If you take the time to visit Kyoto, why not try touching the antiques of Kyoto? In several parts based on different themes, let’s find out how to enjoy antiques!
Culture Nov. 12, 2018
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Yuka - Outdoor Riverside Dining in Sunset and Night of Kiyamachi

The summers in Kyoto are hot, which is why the people of Kyoto have thought of ways to enjoy their summers in cooler ways. One of these ways is yuka, which literally means floor, but which in Kyoto means outdoor riverside dining areas that are set along the Kamo River. Restaurants that have yuka dining are open from May 1 to September 30. Offering both lunch and dinner, but the best time to visit a yuka has to be during sunset, although many of the restaurants are open until 11 p.m. The cool river air and the sky turning to pleasant yellows and fiery reds make you wonder why anyone would like to go to any place but Kyoto.
Season Nov. 05, 2018
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Exclusive Sushi Experience in Kyoto

It is no exaggeration to say that the very essence of Japanese culture can be found packed into a single roll of sushi. From the beautiful appearance, through to the uncompromising obsession with the quality of the ingredients, the skill of the chefs, and the dining etiquette, signs of “Japanese-ness” and Japanese spirit can be found everywhere you look, both in the sushi and in the green tea which accompanies it. You can get an even stronger sense of all of these things in a small, hand-rolled sushi restaurant where the only seating available is at the counter. Perhaps the very reason you are planning to visit Japan is to eat delicious sushi. In that case, welcome to Kyoto! This is a place which has prospered as the birthplace of traditional Japanese culture since ancient times, and which continues to both observe and convey the spirit of Japanese cuisine. While Tokyo may be the home of hand-rolled sushi, Kyoto not only has delicious hand-rolled sushi, it also has its very own form of “sushi cuisine”, which developed in harmony with the climate of the region and the lifestyle of its people. So come to Kyoto and become acquainted with the skill of its people and the beauty of their labor for making sushi, as well as discovering just how delicious, convenient, and fun the food made from everyday ingredients can be. Let us help you to turn your experience of eating sushi in Kyoto into a wonderful and unforgettable memory!
Culture Aug. 05, 2018
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Kyoto Station: More than Just a Gateway to Kyoto

This modern station building may surprise you at first glance with a thought of it really being in the old capital city of Japan. The station itself went through a massive remodeling which finished in 1997, and it continues to boom with new shops services service to welcome visitors. As a transportation hub, Kyoto Station is considered a gateway to Kyoto located about 1.5 hours away from Kansai International Airport by train and just 35 minutes away from central Osaka. Many visitors will likely to come across this area at least once during a trip in Kyoto. Some will only zip through here heading out to explore further into the city. However, most convenient services are available here along with countless eateries and shops that you may want to consider staying and spend some time in the area. Basically there are two sides, Hachijo-guchi (Hachijo Street side) and Chuo-guchi (JR central gate side). There are underground passage ways along with many shops and eateries. Take a moment and get to know what is available in Kyoto Station!
Area May. 21, 2018
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Extraordinary Kaiseki Dinner in Kyoto

What is “Washoku”? When posed with that question, what comes to your mind? Sushi? Tempura? Or ramen? Japanese food comes in many forms. There is a diverse range of popular foods and trendy foods, and Japanese food has also rapidly undergone a myriad of changes in response to the trend of the times. But even so, can new cuisine that have evolved with incorporations of the current culture and trends be really called Japanese food? Does this “Washoku” that was registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2013 include ramen and curry rice? UNESCO does not define “Washoku” as a reference to the menu itself. Instead, it refers to a hearty, balanced menu that cherishes the four beautiful seasons, respects nature and enjoyed with customs that seek its harmonious coexistence. These spiritual and aesthetic consciousness is a unique culture of Japanese cuisine and this is what was registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. In this way, it is precisely this expression of the transitions of the four seasons and respect for the original flavours of the ingredients that make a meal “Washoku”. So, where exactly should one dine at in order to experience the charms of “Washoku”, the traditional food culture of the Japanese people? The answer is none other than Kyoto. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest one is because Kyoto is known as the “Home of Washoku”. On that note, this time’s feature will be about the Washoku restaurants in Kyoto that have been loved in the past and is still loved today. I will write about the following four points to showcase the beauty of Washoku: “Kaiseki cuisine,” traditional Kyoto Washoku that more prominently brings out the allure of Washoku, hot and popular Washoku in Kyoto evolving day by day, Washoku that can be enjoyed lightheartedly, as well as ways to enjoy Sake, the perfect drink to go with Washoku.
Culture Apr. 28, 2018
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Enjoy out Matcha in Kyoto!

Matcha and Green tea have recently become one of the icons of choice favored by many health-conscious people, going as far as featuring in the popular latte menu of Starbucks. In recent years, Japanese tea has continued to grow its fan base around the world thanks to its healthy image and the great versatility found in its preparation. Matcha (whole Japanese tea leaves that are processed and converted into powder form) has nowadays become more accessible and it is no longer used only for tea ceremonies. In modern Kyoto, customers are able to relax and drink Matcha at many Japanese confectionery cafes and the like, and it is also commonly used as flavoring for western confectionery such as parfaits and cakes (there is sure to be many people around the world whose favorite snack is the Matcha Kit Kat!). Furthermore, Uji, the country's most prominent production area of high-quality Japanese green tea, is located south of the center of Kyoto. During the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), a Buddhist monk named Eisei brought over some varieties of tea from China. These varieties were then planted in the Uji area, marking the start of tea production in Japan. Here we will outline our special recommendations for places where you can enjoy a special cultural experience as could only be achieved in Kyoto, the land of the origins of Matcha. If you fancy tasting exceptional Matcha tea as you enjoy the views of a Japanese temple garden, or if you are interested in listening to the trustworthy staff from a Tea leaf shop with a history of many hundreds of years as they share their extensive knowledge of Kyoto's green tea culture, or if you want to try a number of cute and delicious Matcha sweets... then we will introduce you to an amazing event that will give you the opportunity to stand in the middle of a large tea plantation, feel the trees and pick up tea leaves with your own hands! Enjoy some freshly poured Matcha tea as you wish it to relieve the fatigue of your soul and body after your long travels.
Culture Apr. 13, 2018

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